Mario Monday - Mario Clash

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mario Monday takes a step into another dimension as today we take a look at the first Mario game to enter the virtual reality realm with Mario Clash for the much maligned Virtual Boy.

In 1995 Nintendo unveiled the Virtual Boy, the first portable home gaming console to utilize virtual reality. True to the Nintendo pattern, a Mario themes game would be included in the release of the system, and that game was Mario Clash.

Mario Clash took the theme of the original arcade game, Mario Brothers, and added some new twists, including enemies who had since been introduced since the arcade had been created. Rather than bump the enemies from below Mario now was to eliminate the baddies by hurling Koopa shells across the platforms and through the three dimensions.

Here is a comparison of a basic screen shot from Mario Clash and its ancestor, Mario Brothers;

Mario Brothers

Mario Clash

The Virtual Boy saw a limited shelf life and while the red screen had enough to bring down the system itself, the lack of a quality Mario game clearly hurt. The Nintendo entertainment System had Super Mario Brothers and Super Mario Brothers 3. The Super Nintendo had Super Mario World. the Game Boy had Super Mario Land and the Nintendo 64 had the ground breaking Super Mario 64. Today the Nintendo Wii has Super Mario Galaxy (and a sequel in the works for next year).

The Virtual Boy's life was counting on Mario Clash, but poor game play, unusual for a Mario game, and limited replay value doomed the system. The lack of ability to save a player's progress also detracted form the game. At the time, battery back-up was all but a minimum for most home console video games. The sound, as with most Virtual Boy titles, was tough to listen too. It was not much of an upgrade over the Game Boy. In fact, the sounds of Mario Clash are worse than anything you would have heard in Super Mario Land, which was a launch title for the Game Boy in 1989.

So what is the legacy of Mario Clash? Sure, it was acknowledged in Wario are: Micro Games as one of 9-Volt's micro games, but ultimately Mario Clash is a game Nintendo probably would like to put behind them, much like the system it was played on. Screw Attack labeled it as the second worst Mario game of all time. The game was available in stores for just three months, but still pays an important role in the Mario franchise's history. Mario Clash was the first 3-D game in the franchise, paving the way for Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64 one year later.

If you are brave enough, here is a video of the game being played.

Feel free to share your thoughts on Mario Clash. If you actually owned it, or have played it, I would love to get your feedback. what did you like or dislike?

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